When Is The Convenience Of Outsourcing Not Worth The Price?

On this special bonus episode, The Founders talk about whether to keep their swag fulfillment or look for other options after a recent steep price increase. They also provide an update on the contractor machine and also discuss some of the personality traits needed to successfully delegate projects. Listen now, or have someone listen for you!

Show notes:
Links:

Printfection

Full transcript:

Josh:
How's it going?

Ben:
I'm working on this Printfection migration and I've been thinking about what to do here. So we got this outreach from Printfection about our pricing going up, in our case, dramatically. We decided we just don't want to pay that much for what we're getting. So I'm going through all of our inventory looking at our Printfection items that we have, shirts and stickers and so on, and thinking, where... So I've got to send it somewhere. Well, I guess I have to send it to myself. I'm like, do I really want to get a box of 800 shirts? It's like, no, I really don't but I don't see there's much of a choice.

Josh:
Well, we could just pay Printfection.

Ben:
Well, I guess. Yeah, that is the other option.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah, personally I'm on the fence about it because yes, it is a dramatic price increase but the value that they provide us is fairly dramatic from my perspective. So I'm not quite sure what price I attach to that, but I definitely attach more than $75 a month which is what we were paying them. Which just seems insane to me. I see why they would raise our prices, in their defense.

Starr:
How much is it raised by? I forget. I looked at it originally, but I forget.

Josh:
$500.

Ben:
I think it's in the narrative of $500 a month.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Okay.

Josh:
Now to be fair, we should explain they raised their prices I think a couple years ago, because I remember when they went up and I was like, "Man, I'm really glad that we got this sweetheart deal that they let all their past customers keep." But apparently they went through the same progression as everyone ever, same logic as us, over time... We're probably taking them for everything they're worth.

Starr:
I should probably back up and explain in case this makes it into the actual podcast. Printfection is a company that we have used to... They're an inventory company. They keep our shirts and all of our swag. When we want to mail it to people, we just give them the address, or they have forms that people can fill in themselves and magically shirts and stuff get mailed out to them.

Josh:
When we want to give someone a shirt, what we do is we mention our badger bot in Slack to a shirt meme and it gives us a shirt link that we then send to someone. It's like a magical shirt bog. Like a swag bot. Which is pretty cool.

Starr:
Yeah. I have a couple thoughts on this. The first one is, we were paying $75 a month plus shipping fees and handling and all that. We paid a certain amount to have things shipped out.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
The second is that, as the person who was previously kind of in charge of mailing out shirts, it is a huge, huge time suck and a giant pain in the ass.

Josh:
I've got a closet full of shirts still that is just warehoused at this point.

Starr:
Yes.

Josh:
I don't want to go back to that.

Starr:
It is such a pain in the ass. So while it's like, yeah, $500 a month is a lot, it seems like a lot, if Ben Curtis ended up sending out the shirts, I am 100% sure that you would spend more than $500 a month in your time doing it.

Josh:
Yeah. We're going to pay someone like $300 an hour to ship shirts.

Starr:
Yeah. So let me-

Ben:
So what you're saying is, since I'm the only person that hasn't actually done the shirt shipping, that I'm not a good person to judge the value of this service.

Josh:
Oh, Ben, you don't know what you're getting into.

Starr:
Yeah, when I found Printfection, I was seriously... I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was just like, please take this off of my plate.

Ben:
So why are you even letting me have an opinion on this? You should be like, "Ben, shut up. We know what we're doing. We're paying the $500 a month, just deal with it."

Starr:
Well everybody gets to have an opinion. Yeah, so I guess there's a couple reasons why this is just hard. So first of all... Since most of our readers probably haven't dealt with swag much, I'll just go through and explain why it's such a pain in the neck and you don't actually want to do it yourself. So, essentially when you order t-shirts from the printer, usually they come in a big box that's just full of shirts. They're not nicely individually wrapped or anything like that. And maybe some printers offer that as a service, but when I got them they tended to be just giant boxes of shirts.

Starr:
So that means if you want to, say, go to a conference and put them on display, you have to fold them up or roll them up in some way. If you want to mail them out, you've got to fold them up into a dimension that will fit flat and be nice in the little mailer. You've got to make sure you've got the right size of mailers at all times. You've got to basically have a little postage setup where you're always going to Stamps.com or whatever and buying your stamps.

Starr:
Then here's a little something that I didn't really expect, but we often would have people want shirts who are not inside the United States, at which time you have to fill out customs forms. You have to drive to the Post Office and drop things off. It's just a huge, huge pain in the neck. It was... Yeah. It was-

Josh:
You're bringing back memories with the folding shirts before conferences. Because there were multiple and I just remember entire evenings the night before my flight, me and Kaylin just folding shirts for my suitcase.

Starr:
And not only that, but do you remember how we had to get the shirts to the conferences? They weren't just delivered nicely folded to the conference organizers. We checked them. We checked bags of shirts.

Josh:
Listen, one time I checked a bag of... Or, I checked a whole box. This 25 pound box of shirts. I think it was to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's, the airport there, is a 45 minute drive in rush hour traffic to the hotel. We were five minutes away from the hotel when I realized the box was still at checking. I hadn't picked it up at the baggage claim.

Starr:
No!

Josh:
So an hour and a half... yeah.

Starr:
Well, I had... So these boxes of shirts are big. They're like two and a half feet cubed and they weigh, it seemed like more than 20 or 30 pounds. It seemed like 40 or 50 pounds.

Josh:
Might have been 50. Let's go with 50.

Starr:
50, yeah. Shirts are heavy. So I was at a conference in Denver and I'd never been there before and the cab driver dropped me off in the wrong location. So I was humping a giant box of t-shirts around downtown Denver looking for the right place. It was-

Josh:
Sweat dripping down your face.

Starr:
Yeah, it was miserable. And when I got there, I just kind of... I found my table. The shirts weren't folded or anything because I had timelines, and I just sort of... I made a pile as best I could. The other thing is that if they're not individually wrapped and labeled and stuff, people have to dig through them to find their size because the size is written on the label inside the shirt. So if you don't have everything nicely, neatly organized beforehand, five minutes in you will just have-

Josh:
And they will.

Starr:
... a big pile of shirts. There will be no organization anymore, it'll just all be-

Josh:
Just, it's mayhem.

Starr:
Yeah, it is mayhem. It's Fight Club in there because developers love their shirts.

Ben:
This is awesome. I can see myself right now going back to Kyle at Printfection and saying, "You know what? We're happy to pay that $500, please. Please don't raise the price ever again."

Josh:
I hope they don't listen to this podcast or they're going to come back to you with a higher price.

Ben:
Like, "Well, our rates are now triple." Things that are cool about Printfection, as I was going through here... Because you can do the one off things. Like Josh described, we have that badger bot which can send a link to somebody and then they just go in fill in their info and they get their one shirt. But Printfection also does a drop ship option, so you can go in and you can do a bulk order. That's what I was arranging just now, a bulk order to myself.

Ben:
But one of the things that you can do that I think is pretty cool... All your stories of folding and rolling and labeling stuff. So Printfection has this option where if you do a drop ship to a conference, you can have them do the individual rolling and labeling of each individual shirt.

Josh:
Yeah, that's worth its weight in gold.

Ben:
I think it's 50 cents per item.

Josh:
50 pounds of gold. That's a lot of gold.you know, I will say that the amount of air time that we've given Printfection since the start of this podcast, they really should throw us a little bit of a discount.

Ben:
We have promoted them heavily. Maybe that's why we got the cheap rate for so long.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Oh, maybe.

Josh:
It could be.

Starr:
Yeah.

Ben:
Although if we have listeners who have gone to sign up with Printfection because of our recommendations on the show, they should definitely email us so that we can forward those to Printfection and say, "Hey, look at all these customers we sent you."

Starr:
Yeah. Yeah, so I don't know, my own personal opinions, yeah it's a lot of money. I wouldn't recommend just not having any kind of service. If there's a different service that would work, cool, but if it's just-

Josh:
Yeah, we could replace it. It's just, I'm not sure what's going to be cheaper. I haven't researched the options, but I assume... This is a pretty involved business, so I assume it's going... Anyone who's doing that level of service is going to charge for it, something.

Ben:
It seems like the most direct competitor for our purposes would be Swag.com. I haven't reached out to them yet, so I don't know if they do the one off thing or if they're really focused around the bulk thing, but their pricing would be for us a little cheaper than Printfection because they charge you about... products that are like shirts, they'll charge you one cent per day per product. So per day of storage, per month. So it'd work out to a couple hundred bucks, I think, per month for us. And then of course there's shipping and picking and packing on top of that. So they'd be a little cheaper, maybe half the cost. But again, I don't know if they do the one off mailing like we can do with Printfection.

Ben:
Then the other complication is we've, for the longest time, wanted to do a store. We wanted to have a store where people can actually buy these shirts. So that's another wrinkle that I've been thinking about. It's like, okay, well go ahead and do that then. Let's get all this inventory, let's send it over to a fulfillment house. But again, I don't know what those prices are on those companies either.

Josh:
Well, and I know that there are ways to connect services like Printfection to Shopify stores and have them act as the fulfillment so that you can use it for both types of delivery, but I was looking at Printfection, that is one area where they seem to be lacking a little bit. Their documentation is linking to Zapier and stuff. So there may be an option. But I know people that have set up swag stores that have used a backend, I think, like Printfection. I forget what the services are, but I know there are alternatives that have been used, so we could always look into that.

Starr:
We should just put all of the swag on Amazon and just send it to Amazon fulfillment centers.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, so the problem with that plan... and I did think about that-

Josh:
Give us a $1 coupon or something.

Ben:
Yeah. The problem with that is Amazon is pretty picky about what they will put in their warehouses. They want stuff to move.

Starr:
Oh, that makes sense, yeah.

Ben:
Yeah. We don't move inventory-

Starr:
I was really just joking. We couldn't tell Amazon to send 1,000 shirts to a gigantic conference. It doesn't exist.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Well I mean, I actually thought about it, so. But yeah.

Josh:
Yeah, well if you go the full eCommerce setting up your own fulfillment and stuff, at some point you're... I mean, I don't know, that seems like you're still doing a lot of work that a service like Printfection should just be doing for you. They're consolidating all of the things that you have to manage still, right?

Ben:
You talking about the picking, packing and shipping?

Josh:
I guess, yeah. I mean, it would be more involved to just pick some sort of warehouse that... I don't know, it seems like it would be.

Ben:
I think-

Starr:
Yeah, and you also have to deal with the printer then too, right?

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Right. 

Josh:
It would be something to manage. Yeah. Logistics, I guess, is what I'm talking about.

Ben:
Yeah, you have to coordinate all those moving pieces.

Josh:
Yeah. Exactly.

Starr:
So here's my business idea for anybody with a warehouse and the ability to write a Rails app, is just yeah, put people's t-shirts in your warehouse and then we can Rails app and you just mail them out for people and you can charge several hundred dollars a month plus shipping, plus individual shipping fees.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
Now one other option is Printful. That's what our friends over at Tuple use.

Josh:
I've heard of that one.

Ben:
Yeah. And I think if you were just starting out that would be a great option because it's print on demand versus Printfection where you have to have a certain amount of inventory. So I haven't looked closely at Printful. Maybe they would actually be a great fit for us. Maybe they can do the warehousing as well. I just, I don't know. I haven't looked yet. But I think if we were to do this over again, I could go down that path rather than printing up a couple hundred shirts at a time.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
I remember-

Josh:
I know some of the print on demand services back in the day that we tried to use, we had some trouble with just because of the quality of our t-shirt designs and the fact that we're kind of perfectionists so we want really nice t-shirts. And not every printer is set up to do really nice graphic tees. I'm not a graphic designer, but there's a lot that goes into that process if you're doing detail in your designs and stuff.


Starr:
One wrinkle is that our t-shirts are very... the illustrator puts a lot of detail in them and screen printing processes are... The ones that most screen printers use are fine for blocky type things, but if you want a lot of detail, they've got to use special types of screens. You've got to essentially tell them to use that because they won't necessarily notice it and use them by default, and that costs a little extra and all that.

Josh:
Maybe that was more our problem is that we just didn't know what to ask for initially.

Starr:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:
Yeah. But anyway, I'm totally happy with the decision to make super detailed awesome t-shirt designs, because it really has set us apart over the years.

Ben:
Yeah, that's been a good thing.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
A plus, would buy again.

Josh:
Well, we'll figure something out to mail out our-

Ben:
Speaking of t-shirt designs, it's been a long time since we commissioned one.

Josh:
Yeah, we should get back on the swag design. Yeah. Well maybe we should do the... We have a couple in the archives I think still. We could bust out some.

Ben:
True. True. Yeah. Maybe that would be a good trial of another fulfillment house. We could set up with Printful, maybe, and come up with a new design or use one of our designs in the vault and do a trial run.

Josh:
Well then you'd have somewhere to ship the shirts from the loser that's not your garage.

Ben:
Exactly. Yeah, I was actually thinking, okay, which address do I want to send them to, my home or the UPS store where we have our mailing address? I was like, well, I don't have room in my house for them so I guess I should send it to the UPS store because I could just take it straight to my office.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
All these complications.

Starr:
So I'm wondering... I'm looking at Printful right now and I'm just wondering... It looks like yes, per shirt, they are more expensive. It's saying $13 a shirt and I think we probably pay... I don't really know at this point, maybe $6, $7, $8, $9? I remember $6 from a long time ago, but that was when I was really trying to get the costs down, so I think they're probably more now. And I was like, well, how many shirts do we send out on a month? If we add up the total costs, I'm wondering if it's similar or less or more.

Josh:
Yeah. We don't send out a ton usually. Although I think Ben's thinking about sending more, like drop ship type things maybe.

Ben:
Yup. Yup. I'm looking at the Printful site and they do have warehousing, so apparently you can store a bunch of inventory with them. Their storage fees section is kind of weird though. I mean, for me because I'm not used to inventory. For them I'm sure it makes sense, but for me as a customer that has no experience, it's like, they do it by per cubic foot depending on how many units you have. So if you have... I think we'd fall in the 201-1000 units category. If you have that bucket then it's $1.30 per cubic foot. I'm like, how many cubic feet do our shirts take? I don't know.

Josh:
Yeah. Shirts are like-

Ben:
I mean, I know how many shirts we have. Not that many.

Josh:
This is like how many errors is my app going to generate? Pricing is hard.

Starr:
I mean, a box of shirts like the boxes that we used to schlepp around the airports, I'm just imagining they were four or five cubic feet? Or wait, no, they're... Yeah, something like that.

Ben:
Yeah, it's totally like Honeybadger. Like you don't know how much you're going to pay until you get into it. I don't know how many errors my app throws. I guess I'll find out.

Josh:
Til you ship the boxes. Yeah.

Ben:
Well, I think what I'll do then is I'll hold off on this drop shipment to myself and maybe give Printful a shot and see if we can get that set up and we can do two at the same time and see which one we like better.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah, I mean if we pay... I don't mind paying $500 a month for a while anyway. It's worth not shipping them to your house to... you know.

Starr:
Yeah. It's like, whatever we do is probably going to be more than $75 a month, so if it ends up... If Printful ends up being $1000-$2000 a year cheaper, I'm not even sure that it's worth the trouble.

Ben:
Yeah, true.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah see this is the thing, we're not as small as we used to be. We're constantly reaching a different level and it's weird doing things that before you would've just... It would have blown your mind that you're going to pay $500 a month for, just to store some t-shirts. But now it's worth it. Or whatever.

Ben:
Right. Yeah. Sometimes I'm still in the really scrappy mode.

Josh:
No, I mean it's not bad to keep that mindset and just adjust it proportionally, maybe. It's still good to be frugal or whatever.

Starr:
I mean, that's... using third party services is kind of how we're able to keep our headcount low, and headcount is the major expense of a business.

Josh:
Yeah that's the other thing. These are all expenses that allow us to run a virtual company. If you think about all the expenses that you have, if you were doing things like some other larger companies that are more traditional. I mean there's employees that we don't have. The alternative for a larger competitor might be to hire some lower level employees that don't mind huffing shirts to conferences in suitcases or whatever, showing up to move them around.

Ben:
If we end up doing whatever, changing with our fulfillment stuff and our swag, we definitely should get some more swag. Like we totally need some socks. Maybe a tie.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Because shirts are cool, but we got to have some variety in there.

Josh:
Bolo tie?

Ben:
I'm not going to say we need to do things like, I don't know, USB charging battery things. I don't want to go down that path.

Josh:
Yeah. No, something unique.

Ben:
Yeah, something fun.

Josh:
People love socks. I got to say they do love socks, yeah.

Ben:
People do love socks.

Josh:
Yeah. I've also seen lounge... like pants and things. Stuff for work from home leisure wear, I guess is what you'd call it.

Ben:
COVID survival gear.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
I was just sitting here thinking, I was like, if we did hire an admin, how rude would it be to be like, "Here's a box of shirts. Keep it in your garage. Mail them out."

Ben:
I don't know, they'll probably be like, "I'm getting paid to do this. Okay."

Starr:
Yeah, but-

Ben:
"I'll fold shirts for money."

Starr:
But also, all the labeling and all the rolling up, and... yeah.

Ben:
It's just work, right? It's like, it's just a job.

Starr:
That's true. But also, it's... I don't know, it's the sort of thing... It's like, it seems like when you have an employee, you need to be able to tell them what to do, you need to be able to show them and train them so that the next... If they want to go somewhere else, the next person you can do the same thing. And it's just like... I'm just imagining trying to remotely be like, "Okay, now show me how you rolled up the shirts, and how are you securing them so they don't unroll?" It just seems like such a pain in the ass.

Josh:
Yeah, and then if that person ever wants to leave or move on from the company, it's like, okay, now you have to put in your two weeks and you have to ship six boxes of shirts to someone.

Starr:
It's like, "Mail us all the shirts."

Josh:
And where do they send them? Yeah. They send them to Ben. That's the answer, Ben Curtis is where they send them.

Ben:
Yeah, be like no, you can't quit until you give away all the shirts, so you got to find a way to do a promotion or something. Next thing you know you go down to the high school and every kid there's got like three Honeybadger shirts because they just drove down there and dropped off a box.

Starr:
Oh my God, this reminds me... I don't know if I shared this online, but when we were first started doing the shirts and I was fulfilling them myself, we ran a ad in Ruby Weekly where we were like, "Hey, come get your free t-shirt." So okay, Ruby Weekly, they're all Rubyists. Sure, I'll send every Rubyist a t-shirt. That sounds like a great option.

Starr:
but then we got posted somehow on a message board of free stuff where you just fill out a form and people fill you with free stuff and I'm like, "Why am I sending all these... There's a lot of shirts that want to go to India right now. I didn't know Ruby Weekly's audience was so international." I mean, I know it's international but the overwhelming proportion of all the shirt requests we were getting were from places where we didn't have any customers. So yeah, so eventually I think I asked somebody or whatever and they're like, "Yeah, I found you on this thing." I was just like, "Oh, no." So I was kind of a jerk. I was just like, "I'm sorry, no more international orders until this is cleared out." Because it costs a lot of money to send things internationally.

Josh:
Yeah. Apparently there are boards where people share swag deals.

Starr:
Yeah, don't do that. Don't do that.

Ben:
The things you learn when you have no idea what you're doing in marketing.

Starr:
I know, right? That's great. It's like, these shirts aren't free. I'm not just giving them out to the world because I want to give shirts out to the world.

Ben:
Well, probably not the most important thing for us to think about as far as business goes but yeah, sometimes you got to just deal with the details.

Josh:
Yup.

Starr:
Yeah, this is truly what small business is about.

Josh:
Well, we got a lot done this week in open source land.

Ben:
Yeah, we should talk-

Starr:
Oh, that's right, y'all are rocking and rolling with the contractors.

Josh:
Onboarded a couple of contractors so far and they're already solving problems for us and it's great, yeah. We shipped a bunch of new releases already this... We did a couple PHP releases. I had a few of my own bug fix typical releases but yeah, making progress so that's exciting. And it's really nice actually just being able to... Because I'd gotten immersed back in the details for a while there over the last year or so, and it's really nice to step back again and just do some higher level management and spend time documenting issues and just have continual progress being made. I realized I'm a lot happier doing that, I think, than getting stuck in a project when I know there's 10 other things that also need to be happening. I need to be better at delegating. So yeah, it feels good.

Starr:
Good. I kind of feel the same way about the blog stuff. It's nice to have stuff happening when I'm not capable of doing it in the moment. 

Ben:
Well it feels like, too, there are certain personality types that are more inclined towards delegating well than others. Some people have the control freak perfectionist kind of trait where they just want to make sure that everything is just so. And not necessarily "right," but they have a particular opinion about the way something should be and they want it done that way and they don't trust anybody else to do it that way. So they have a hard time delegating. I think I fall into that trap myself. But I think there are other people who are like, "Yeah, I totally see the benefit of having other people help me get my stuff done, so delegate away," and they have no qualms about that.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
So I think sometimes you have to check and see where you are on that personality spectrum and see, is this something that I really need to overcome or can I leverage my particular quirks for greater good, for much justice?

Starr:
Yeah, I definitely feel a pull of both. The light side and the dark side of the force.

Josh:
Y'all ever read E-Myth?

Starr:
Oh, a long time ago, yeah.

Josh:
Back in the day? Yeah. Yeah, same here, a long time ago. I reviewed it again recently because we've been working with a business consultant over at the consulting company, Hint, and it had been a long time since I read it so I just skimmed it again. But they've got the concept of a business owner has three roles that you are constantly having to manage, or maybe they're in conflict to some extent. But it's the manager, the entrepreneur, and the technician. I get stuck in the technician side of things when I'm just... I have the technical knowledge to do this and there's no one else capable of solving this problem except me. And so I'll just dive in and do it. And then I come up, like two weeks later I finally take another breath and realize I'm back in the technician mindset and I need to get out.

Ben:
I think the trap that I fall into on the technician mindset is not that no one else can do this, but that it's faster for me to do it.

Josh:
Yeah. Well that too, yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, and I think parents have this struggle as well. It's like, well I could help my kid learn how to unload the dishwasher, or I could just do it and get it done.

Josh:
Yeah. They're like, am I going to manage my kid to clean up the living room for two hours, or am I going to just do it myself real quick in 10 or 15 minutes?

Ben:
Yup. And one approach leads to more growth than the other, so yeah, the struggle is real.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
But I appreciate the delegation work that you've been doing lately because it's really motivated me to try and get over my own hesitation to delegate more.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Working on it.

Josh:
It's a continual... I don't know, it's something that you have to keep working at because it's definitely not a solved problem just because I found some people to do stuff right now. It's like, those people aren't going to be around forever. They might not be interested in this work forever. Also, trying to make sure I manage them effectively and keep the work interesting and not a drag on them. You don't want to burn people out or... You need to manage people still. So that's something I'm learning. Even with one off contractors, you still need to manage people and try to help them be successful. Otherwise they don't like what they're doing and they don't want to work for you anymore.

Starr:
I think the reason that in the past when I tried to delegate stuff it didn't quite work out like I expected is because I kind of... When I delegated something, I kind of expected the person to be another me. I kind of expected it to be like, "Okay, now clone, go off and just do this thing. And you can do it, right? You know how to do it? I would do it fine if it was me doing it, so you can do it." But that doesn't really work out because people don't really know every single thing that you know. They don't have the same aptitudes that you have or abilities or knowledge.

Starr:
I think the thing that I've had a little bit more success with is just, yeah, just not being so general in the things that I'm delegating. Just being very specific. Like with these blog posts it's like, I'm asking you to write a blog post about something you know about. So I can find people who can do that and that's very concrete. They know what they need to do, I know what I expect from them. Versus how I used to do things, which is just sort of like, "Okay, just start working. Just write some stuff." I don't know.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, that's good. Clear expectations and directions are certainly helpful.

Starr:
Yeah. And also kind of viewing it as a good delegation... Like you're not necessarily giving work to a person, you're setting up a system to which you can give work. Because if you just give work to a person, maybe you find a good person, but eventually that person quits and you have to find the other exactly right person. So it's just stressful because you're always sort of relying on this one person and your success depends on them willingly doing what you want them to do as opposed to, "Well, I can give this. I want to delegate this. I've got this system of several people and I can give this to one of them and if it doesn't work out, I can find somebody else who can do it."

Josh:
Yeah. I really like that flexible approach that you took. I think I've been trying, as a result of your suggestion, which is like, where you set the expectations is important and how... Yeah. The big thing I've been trying to get across to people is I don't mind... The pace of the work is really flexible. I'm trying to hire a lot of people so that if one person can't do something or doesn't have time or doesn't want to do something, that's totally fine. There'll always be something else in the future. I'm not mad at you if you can't get to something, but don't take something on that you're not going to deliver. So once you actually agree to deliver something, then that's the point where we want consistent communication and some kind of regular progress happening. And then have an off ramp. Because things come up. If you commit to something and then for some reason you can't deliver, then tell us and we'll have some sort of off ramp so that it doesn't burn the bridge there either.

Starr:
Yeah, I think that's a really important thing so people don't feel trapped. They don't feel like... Yeah, and you don't have these weird emotional things that just kind of creep up where people are worried you're mad at them because they didn't do something on a specific date.

Josh:
Yeah, and maybe you are a little bit... You get in these weird... Tension can creep into those relationships and there can be small passive aggressions and things and it's like, really it's just you need to be communicating and it needs to be like, okay, obviously you're having trouble with this. Why? The problem isn't that you're having trouble, it's just that I don't know what's happening so that we can figure out what would be a better thing for you to be doing or whatever.

Starr:
Yeah, that makes sense. You mentioned an off ramp. In the past it seems like I've gone into some situations where the only planned-for outcome was basically everything goes perfectly right. So then if I would... Like if I delegate something and somebody would not do it perfectly right, then there wouldn't be any plan for that. So I would get upset or I would be like, "Oh, this person doesn't know what they're doing," when in fact it's like, sometimes that's going to happen. So yes, it can be a little bit upsetting in the moment but also, I think it's important to be able to say, "Okay, I know how to handle this. It's in our playbook. So, okay, this is what I'm going to do. I don't have to make a decision right now when I'm annoyed." It's just not as personal.

Josh:
Right. Yeah, and especially if that playbook is shared between you then it's like, it isn't a surprise when whatever outcome... however that's handled because that's the expectation. It's like, you have planning for all the other potential outcomes, or whatever.

Starr:
You've been listening to Honeybadger. 

Ben:
Yeah, you've been listening to Founder Quest, actually.

Starr:
Founder Quest? Oh my God. Oh my God. Okay. Okay.

Starr:
You've been listening to Founder Quest. Please review us on Apple Podcast and just... I just got to go because this is just too much for me.

Josh:
I think that that was great, Starr. I think that's a wrap.

Ben:
That's awesome. That's a wrap.




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